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Can We Defuse the Global Warming Time Bomb?

James Hansen

All glaciers in America's Glacier National Park are retreating inexorably to their final demise. Global warming is real, and the melting ice is a portent of potentially disastrous consequences. Yet most gloom-and-doom climate scenarios exaggerate trends of the agents that drive global warming. Study of these forcing agents shows that global warming can be slowed, and stopped, with practical actions that yield a cleaner, healthier atmosphere.

(Double) Blind Faith

Fred Leavitt

Are double-blind experiments any more trustworthy than personal experiences in evaluating drugs? Scientific research should not be exempt from skepticism. Methodological deficiencies are common, and crucial aspects of many studies are directed by parties motivated by considerations other than the search for truth. In the case of drug trials, personal experiences that conflict with media accounts of double-blind experiments should not be ignored.

Ocean Clues May Yield New Mineral Discoveries

Brad Collis

Recent discoveries near sources of volcanic activity on the ocean floor have led to new insights into the processes of mineral ore formation, and may lead to the development of new information tools for future mineral exploration on land.

Swimming With Lions

Brad Collis

The changing fortunes of Australia's rare fur seals and sea lions highlight the precarious juggling act required of biologists when they try to protect different species occupying the same habitat.

Why Do Honeybees Dance?

Julian O'Dea

When a honeybee returns to the hive after a successful foraging trip, she often performs a dance that reflects in miniature the details of her trip. Yet current research suggests that locational information contained in the dance is not communicated to other bees. So what is the reason for the dance? Here, Julian O'Dea offers an evolutionary explanation.

Deducing the Feeding Habits of Tyrannosaurus rex

Steve Brusatte

With this account of recent research on one of the giants of the Cretaceous, Steve Brusatte shows how paleontologists are able to unravel remarkable details about life in the distant past.

A New Look at Darwinian Sexual Selection

Merle E. Jacobs

Professor Jacobs discusses male ornamentation and female choice of mating partners in the evolution of fancy male birds and other organisms.

Global Warming: It's Happening

Kevin E. Trenberth

Responding to a feature article in "Canada's national newspaper," the (Toronto) Globe and Mail, claiming that the Earth is not warming but cooling, a leading climatologist warns not only that climate warming is happening, but that the effects of warming due to human activity are unpredictable, dangerous and, once initiated, unstoppable over a time span of less than several generations.

See also:
Patrice Francour: Global warming and marine biodiversity
Christian Jensen: How Many Climate Researchers Support the Leipzig Declaration?
Hugh Ellsaesser: Is Human Activity the Cause of Global Warming?
Kevin Trenberth: Replies to Hugh Ellsaesser
Fred Singer: Global Warming Is Not Happening
Kevin Trenberth: Replies to Fred Singer
Bill Parkyn: On Carbon Taxes and Global Warming
The Editor: A Response to Bill Parkyn
Google search for: "global warming is it happening"

Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Forum on Fishery Science in Relation to Fisheries Management

Janet Russell

A report on the Public Forum in St. John’s, Newfoundland organized by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans in response to a recent journal article (Hutchings et al. 1997), which questioned whether fisheries science could flourish under the direct administration of a fishery management bureaucracy.

See Also:
Google search for: "fishery science management"

Recent Changes to Antarctic Peninsula Ice Shelves: What Lessons Have Been Learned?

Christina L. Hulbe

The past half-century has seen a dramatic increase in air temperature and the retreat of small fringing ice shelves around the Antarctic Peninsula. These changes will have little impact on the mass balance of Antarctic ice as a whole or on global sea level but do offer insight into the processes of ice shelf flow. Model simulations of the large Antarctic ice sheets predict an increase, not a decrease, in ice volume in future warming scenarios.

See also:
Google search for: "Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves"

Nannobacteria: Surely Not Figments, But What Under Heaven Are They?

Robert L. Folk
Nannobacteria are very small living creatures in the 0.05 to 0.2 micrometer range. In this review by their discoverer, it is conjectured that nannobacteria run most of the earth’s surface chemistry and form most of the world’s biomass. Nevertheless, they remain "biota incognita" to the biological world as their genetic relationships, metabolism, and other characteristics remain to be investigated.

See Also:
Letter from Dave LaChance: Nannobacteria, a novel life form?
Review of this article by Ralph L. Harvey
Letter from Bob Clark: Why is it so hard to show what they are?
Letter from Frank Volke: Size limit for cells
Google search for: "nanobacteria"

Peer Review: The Holy Office of Modern Science

Maciej Henneberg
A historical overview and critique of peer review with a discussion of alternative methods for the evaluation of research reports and grant applications.

See Also:
Review: Bias in Peer Review
Editorial: Does Peer Review Serves Bureaucracy Better Than Science?
Google search for: "peer review"

Boreal Forest in the Global Context

J. Stan Rowe
An earnest appeal from a veteran ecologist for the preservation of the circumpolar taiga: a 60 million year old forest, containing billions of tons of carbon in trees and soils, threatened with total change or even destruction within a few decades due to humanity's acquisitiveness and ignorance.

See Also:
Google search for: "boreal forest preservation"

BIAS IN PEER-REVIEW: Concerning a Report of Sexism and Nepotism in The Awarding of Research Grants by Sweden's Medical Research Council

Stuart Lee

To succeed in a man’s word, it has been said, a woman needs to be twice as good as a man. But according to a recent article in Nature, a woman seeking Medical Research Council funding in Sweden must be two and a half times as good as a man.

See Also:
Article: Peer Review: The Holy Office of Modern Science
Editorial: Does Peer Review Serves Bureaucracy Better Than Science?
A British Medical Journal editorial: On the alternative to peer review
Google search for: "bias in peer review"

Nannobacteria: What is the Evidence?

Ralph P. Harvey

It has been claimed that the abundant rounded or elongated objects, less than 0.2 microns in diameter, that are visible in scanning electron micrographs of samples of terrestrial soils, sediments, minerals and rocks are extremely small microorganisms, or “nannobacteria.” Here, the evidence for this claim is examined.

Research Reports

Infrared Radiation from Comet Hale-Bopp

Chandra Wickramasinghe and Fred Hoyle

The infrared spectrum of comet Hale-Bopp over the wavelength range 7.5-45 microns is shown to be consistent with a model dominated by a mixed microbial culture including diatoms with an approximately 10% mass contribution from crystalline olivine.

See Also:
An image (133 K) of Comet Hale-Bopp taken on April 6, 1997 by the TOC Observatory: Flemming Ovesen/Torben Taustrup (
Google search for: "Hale Bopp infrared spectrum"

Fingerprint Homoplasy: Koalas and Humans

Maciej Henneberg, Kosette M. Lambert and Chris M. Leigh

Fingerprints (dermatoglyphes), which are typical for higher primates, have recently been observed on the fingers and toes of the tree-climbing marsupial Phascolarctus cinereus. Their presence in lineages of mammals undergoing separate evolution for at least 70 million years, but adapting to climbing and grasping, indicates that adaptive regularities may be a common feature of the evolutionary process.

See Also:
Google search for: "fingerprint homoplasy"

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